Wheat Berry Pudding With Walnuts - Koljivo

10 servings
1 hr 15 min

Wheat Berry Pudding is a decadent, simple dessert of cooked grain, walnuts, and sugar, with a warming aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg spice. It's one of the most iconic dishes in Serbian culture and cuisine.

Serbian traditions are often centered around wheat, known as Zito (Zhito) or Koljivo, from Easter to the Orthodox Christmas (Bozic).

The wheat symbolizes resurrection and eternal life. Thus, the wheatberry pudding is consumed among Orthodox Christians at funerals when holding memorials to honor those who've passed away and for Slava.

The Slava is an annual family event in which they pay tribute to their patron saint.

In addition to having a spiritual value for the family and guests of the celebration, the glorious wheat should be delicious to satisfy and obtain material and spiritual blessings.

Please see the recipe card at the end of this post for the complete list of ingredients and detailed instructions. However, there's some important stuff to know before you scroll down.

What are Wheat Berries?

Wheat berries are a high-fiber whole grain containing bran and germ. They take longer to cook because they're not refined like flour or cereal grains such as rice stripped of their outer layer.

Health Benefits

Wheat berries are a delicious and healthy way to get more protein, fiber, iron, and vitamin E. They're also rich in magnesium which can help you maintain strong bones and muscles!

Enjoy your serving size by the tablespoonful inside small serving dishes like custard cups, ice cream bowls, mason jars, or glasses. Don't forget some whipped cream too!

How To Serve It

Here are some ways to enjoy prepared wheat berries:

  • Breakfast: Mix warm wheat grains with honey, brown sugar, dried fruits, and nuts, and spoon over with vanilla yogurt or some milk.
  • Side dish: A delicious side dish dressed with olive oil, salt, and pepper and infused with garlic, dried sage, and thyme.
  • Soup: Cook into a hearty chicken soup instead of barley.
  • Main dish: Simply replace the rice in your recipes with the cooked wheat berries.
  • Salad: Top leafy salad with cold or warm berries and add fresh herbs and vegetables. Sub the quinoa with wheat berries in this Grek salad.

Meal Prep Tip:

The easy way to get a healthy and tasty meal on the table in minutes is with whole grains. You can prep them ahead, add them as toppings for salads and bowls.

Cook them in other foods like soups, or serve them at breakfast time! They're delicious with some milk, honey, and cinnamon.

Wheat Berry Pudding With Walnuts - Koljivo
Recipe details
  • 10  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 1 Hours Total time: 1 hr 15 min
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  • ▢ 1 cup white wheat berries
  • ▢ 4 cups water
  • ▢ 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ▢ 2 cup walnuts
  • ▢ 2/3 cup powdered Sugar
  • ▢ 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • ▢ 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon

Rinse wheat berries with warm water and drain. Place the wheat berries in a large saucepan or small pot with enough water to cover them 2-3 inches (about 4 cups). Add salt and bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 1 hour (less if you're using soft white or cracked wheat) or until tender.
Drain the cooked wheat in a sieve and rinse the excess gluten off with hot water. Let drain in the sieve for 30 minutes or overnight.
Skip this step if drained overnight; otherwise: Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. Spread the wheat berries over towels and pat dry with more paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.
Using a food processor or a meat grinder, grind the wheat, sugar, walnuts, nutmeg, and cinnamon until combined. Don't over-process it; you want some texture, not a paste. You might need to do this in batches.
Serve the pudding in small dishes topped with whipped cream and sprinkle with a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon.
  • You should use cold water over the wheat because it helps the grain slowly heat and open up during cooking.
  • The cooking time for wheat berries can vary depending on the variety (hard, soft, red, white, spring, or winter). They will be ready when most of the water has been absorbed, and they're tender but still have a bit of chew to them!
  • Cooked wheat must be at room temperature before adding sugar; otherwise, it will melt and create a syrup that makes the wheat mass runny.
  • If you don't have a food processor, use a blender and blend in small batches.
  • Make it vegan (posno) - serve without the whipped cream or use a plant-based version.
  • Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
  • See additional info and FAQs in the original post on the blog.
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